This Is What State Of The Art MIDI Software Looked Like In 1986

This 1986 segment of BBC’s Micro Live showcases the then state-of-the-art in MIDI software.

At the higher end of the market, Tony Hastings of Steinberg Research demonstrates Pro24 for the Atari ST, while Lesley Judd shows some of the cheaper alternatives available for humble 8-bit systems. The Commodore 64 has a Music Expansion System, while even the Spectrum can be used as the heart of a inexpensive music production system, with the Casio CZ101 synth and Cheetah’s MIDI Interface and MK5 keyboard. Finally, there is the Music 5000 Synthesiser box for the BBC Micro.

This segment, originally broadcast 19 December, 1986, comes from the BBC Archive.

If you worked with any of these systems back in the day, leave a comment and share your experience!

via vargasz

18 thoughts on “This Is What State Of The Art MIDI Software Looked Like In 1986

  1. In 1986 my live rig was 2 Ultimate Support triple tier stands each with a sequential circuits pro one, a Casio CZ-1000, a DCB Juno 60 and MSQ-100 sequencer on the bottom tier of one stand and a Prophet 600 on the bottom tier of the other stand. The MSQ-100 had volatile memory so I had to make up a sequence for my keyboard solo just before the show started lol! Seems like a million years ago.

  2. i still have my first mac, a “Mac Plus” and a copy of one of the first midi apps, and it all works still!! now all i need is to find a vintage mac midi interface! should be easy right? right…

    1. Wow!! That was my first computer too… that and a dot matrix printer to go with it… It had a single 720kb drive and I was going to get another external floppy drive to go with it (that’s the setup we used at college) … anyway, the sales guy did the hard sell and convinced me to buy an external hard drive instead (never heard of a hard drive before)… I loaded every single floppy I had onto the HD and barely came to a third of it’s capacity… I thought it was a waste of money and I’d blown my dough… the HD size?… 20Mb (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) … remember these were the days when you had the whole Mac OS on a floppy drive… I used to have a floppy with Word and all my assignments on it…. those definitely were the days 😎

  3. I used Pro-24 and then Steinberg’s Cubeat back in the late 80s with a Roland U20. That then went into a Tascam 6-4 mixer and Tascam 34 4 track tape machine – final mix down to a Revox A77.

    1. In 1986? You were 10 years ahead of your time!

      I hope you bought stock and sold it before it crashed and SGI went bankrupt.

  4. Steinberg’s Pro-24 (followed by Cubase, when originally released) with the SMP-24 timecode & MIDI port expander, running on Atari STe & STfm computers; all SMPTE-locked to the sync track of an Akai MG14D, along with a Sequential Studio 440. Later added an Atari Mega4 ST running Sound Tools for mixdown/editing, and a Panasonic SV-3500 DAT for final dump.

  5. That episode of that show in 1986 literally changed my life. Been a synth musician ever since. Thanks for sharing that made me a bit misty.

  6. Still use an Atari running C-Lab Notator. Kind of amazed it still works. Can be temperamental, but in exactly the same way it was originally.

    1. Notator was my first sequencer, also. Oddly, I still have it in its original box but my Atari is long since been gone.

  7. My first MIDI rig was a Commodore-64 rocking Dr T’s KCS controlling a Korg Poly-800, a Casio CZ-101 and a Roland TR-505.

  8. I had 2 setups like this and actually toured with the c64 as a sequencer.I still have all the hardware and software including interfaces,3 c128’s 3 drives.haven’t fired them up since 1992 (31 years wow) I plan to do a video if they work.well see.

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